Extensive farming involves husbandry of animals over a large area, animal performance, health and welfare dependent on ecology and farm management. Specific features providing both challenges and opportunities for good animal welfare include climatic, environmental and nutritional variation and extremes; infrequent human contact; greater freedom for animals to make choices affecting their well-being; a greater degree of natural selection; and fitter animals better able to cope with their environments. Stockmanship, in addition to drawing on personal experience and traits, requires an understanding of the constraints and opportunities afforded by the climate, the terrain and the biota. Intensification practices acting to increase productivity and efficiency need to be able to retain and enhance animal resilience to environmental changes. Animal welfare regulatory, monitoring and assurance expectations may need to acknowledge these distinctive features.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 71, Invercargill, 181-185, 2011
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